As we close the YJ doors on 2020 and prepare for a break from helping amazing organisations tell their stories and news, we thought we’d share a few of our own.  

We’ve never felt prouder of being a part of the social enterprise sector as we have done this year. As the pandemic forced organisations to close their doors and work from home, our social enterprise colleagues switched to working from kitchen tables, juggling homeschooling, and taking part in far too many Zooms to make sure the people they support got the help they needed.   

This grit shown by our sector kept us going and motivated us to use this time to do all we can for those we work with.  

In July, we were lucky enough to work with Not Fur’ Long, who supported us to give our Media Cubs mini reporters a voice at a time when their pandemic questions were unanswered by the ‘grown-ups’ on TV. More than 200 questions were collected by the mini reporters as part of their Raise Your Hand campaign – and their efforts resulted in a response from 10 Downing St, their ITV debut and their first mini reporter press conferences with Mayor Andy Burnham and England’s Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield.   

Throughout the year, we saw our Talking About My Generation online news platform for over 50s take on a life of its own. Our community reporters, all aged 50+, not only wanted to keep the newsroom going, but they wanted to do more to challenge the one-sided stories about their generation’s experiences of the pandemic. They have produced 200+ stories, 4 podcasts, made their acting debut and created a film to show the world that older people were volunteering, looking out for others and doing their bit during the pandemic – not just playing the vulnerable victims stereotype.   

The growth in these two projects led to us to expand our YJ team to support both our project work and our PR and communications client work – which has grown with the likes of Oxfam, Unltd and Healthwatch Salford choosing to work with us. We’re so grateful for all the hard work from our extended team; Kathryn, Vicky, Jodie, Ted, and Tony, alongside our crew of interns, Andrea, Ruby, Lee, Jameala, Charlotte, and Andreja. We look forward to working with you next year and continuing to expand the team.    

Being able to prove the need for both of these projects this year has resulted in us ending the year with some very exciting news: we are one of the 120 social enterprises to have been awarded funding from UnLtd’s Inclusive Recovery Fund, a £4.75 million fund to help social entrepreneurs unleash their potential at a pivotal moment the UK’s economic and social recovery.  

Combined with Grace’s place on the School of Social Entrepreneur’s Scale UP Programme, and Kirsty’s place on the Unltd Grow It programme, we will be spending 2021 using our time and grant funding to develop both Media Cubs and Talking About My Generation. We can’t wait!  

A big thank you in particular to the following organisations this year: